Even low to moderate consumption of alcohol leads to breast, colon and liver cancer amongst others, a recent study found.
If a recent study from New Zealand has gotten it right, those looking to grab a post-work drink have more than inebriation and a ride home to worry about.
Consumption of alcohol directly leads to breast, liver, colon and other types of cancer, Professor Jennie Connor from Otago University found. The link to cancer was conclusive, even in cases of low to moderate consumption, The Guardian reported.
Professor Connor analysed reviews conducted in the last decade by the World Cancer Research Fund, the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer and other bodies. Her findings were subsequently published in the Addiction journal.
“There is strong evidence that alcohol causes cancer at seven sites in the body and probably others,” Professor Connor said.
“The highest risks are associated with the heaviest drinking but a considerable burden is experienced by drinkers with low to moderate consumption, due to the distribution of drinking in the population,” she added.
“Even without complete knowledge of biological mechanisms (of how alcohol causes cancer), the epidemiological evidence can support the judgment that alcohol causes cancer of the oropharynx, larynx, oesophagus, liver, colon, rectum and breast,” she explained.
Drinks aside, the study emphasised that smoking, a known aggravating factor, results in an increased cancer risk.
Small steps to cut down on booze consumption could go a long way, experts said. They recommended having some alcohol-free days in a week, not stocking one’s home with alcoholic beverages and choosing drinks with a lower alcohol content.
In February, England’s chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies warned that alcohol led to breast cancer in women.
Speaking in parliament, she said: “Do as I do when I reach for my glass of wine. Think: do I want the glass of wine or do I want to raise my own risk of breast cancer? I take a decision each time I have a glass.”
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